As social work students entering our Social Action Placement, my partner Matt Belyea and I were asked to research into why there is low voter turnout, particularly for youth, and work to engage students in democracy. Through our research, we’ve heard many superficial responses as to why youth don’t vote: we’re too busy, we’re too lazy, we’re not motivated enough, we don’t have enough knowledge about politics. The list goes on and on.
Although these reasons may be true to some, to me it doesn’t really hit the underlying issues that really cause youth to stay home during election time. As Elizabeth May’s talk, “Saving Democracy from Politics”, suggests, our current electoral system is just simply not working for us. It just doesn’t make sense that 39 per cent of the vote transfers into 53 per cent of the seats in Parliament, thus making a majority out of a minority of votes. We need to feel like the time we put in to vote will actually make a difference. In order to address this issue, we will be pushing for mixed-member proportional representation system by collecting signatures from students throughout the fall to present to the legislature in November. We are looking for volunteers to help with this initiative.
If you want to get involved or just want to be updated on our progress, please like us on Facebook (Students for Democracy in NB), or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.